They say that the best things in life are free. When it comes to PR tools, you do have to pay for sophisticated analytics and media monitoring software, but you can absolutely augment your PR strategy and measurement efforts with some pretty cool online resources for free. Here are some of our favorites.
Let’s start with Google.
While Google Alerts won’t catch every mention, it is a useful way to get quick insight into what’s going on in your industry. It is easy to configure so that you get a heads-up when your brand or one of your competitors is mentioned. You can also keep tabs on your customers, industry influencers, or events that matter in your space.
You can also use Google News to find relevant media mentions. You will need to do some manual filtering because Google News isn’t as effective as a PR tool designed for the purpose of separating quality mentions from the noise, but if you dig a bit the information will be there.
Google Analytics data can help you gain in-depth insight about the audience and content on your website. You can learn which PR articles are driving traffic, what your visitors do when they get to your online properties and at what rate visitors driven by PR end up converting to leads or sales.
There are lots of ways to find out how many Tweets your content received, or how many times it was shared on Facebook, but what about all the other social networks and ways of sharing content? ShareTally gives you insight into how each URL is being spread across the web.
Moz Open Site Explorer and Moz Bar
Moz offers several free SEO related tools. The Open Site Explorer and Moz Bar are particularly useful. With Moz Open Site Explorer you can discover new content and link building opportunities, track your site's link profile over time and compare your site to your competitors for data-driven, targeted link building. Install the Moz Bar for free to access key SEO metrics at a glance for every page you visit.
TrendKite’s Free Competitive PR Benchmarking Tool
Our very own free Competitive Intelligence Report will help you determine how well your PR efforts are doing compared to your top competitors. It is an easy-to-use, interactive benchmarking tool that will help you identify areas of strength and opportunity in your market.
TrendKite’s Free Digital PR Measurement & Reporting Template
We used our research and experience to create a spreadsheet and PR reporting framework that allows you to clearly prove PR ROI with free and low cost tools. Download the "Digital PR Measurement & Reporting Template" to start reporting the full impact your media mentions are having even if you do not have access to advanced PR software like TrendKite.
Want to find out which relevant content is being shared most frequently across the major social networks? Try Buzzsumo. It will show you which articles have the most shares across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google +. It does have some features that require a paid subscription, but the basic capabilities are free.
The free statistics in your own Twitter account can be extremely useful. Find out which of your own Tweets have the most reach, discover which ones earned you new followers, and learn more about the interests, locations, and demographics of your followers.
Crowdfire was started to answer one simple question, “Who unfollowed me on Twitter.” The service has grown to offer several additional capabilities including; weeding out inactive users, finding relevant users to follow using the insightful “Copy Followers” feature, and keeping track of how your social media updates affect your follower/unfollower stats.
HowSociable's magnitude score provides an indication of the level of activity around a brand during a given week. The range is from 0 to 10. A score of zero means there is zero or near zero activity for the brand. A score of 10 means you have practically saturated the social web and will likely be recognized by everyone that uses it. The free account looks at 12 social networks, the Pro account, which is just nine bucks a month, looks at 36.
Kred is a social-media scoring system that measures a person’s or brand online influence. Kred measures a person or company’s engagement. The Kred score represents trust and social generosity. It can be used to find people who may be helpful in spreading your brand’s message.
Mentionmap is a useful tool that lets you see the people that you have the most conversations with and the way that other Twitter users connect to you. Just enter any Twitter user name and get an interactive map of connections that you can explore.
TipTop Search is a Twitter-based search engine that points you to the most interesting and most current advice, opinions, answers for any search. You can find real people to directly engage and share experiences with. A search on any topic reveals people’s emotions and experiences about it, as well as other concepts that they are discussing related to the original search.
We think you’ll enjoy the free capabilities of these awesome resources. Many of these tools have Pro options that cost a little, but get you even more useful features. No matter which tools you decide to use, be sure to check out our Measuring PR Impact eBook for helpful advice on how to structure your approach to PR measurement. You’ll learn how to improve your strategy and generate PR reports that your boss will love.
Got a fave we didn't mention? Let us know! And we'll keep adding to the list! Also, if you'd like to see TrendKite's PR Tool in action, request a customized dashboard below!
About the Author
Passionate about public relations and empowering practitioners, Lacey Miller found her dream job as content marketing manager at TrendKite, where she carries the crown of 'word nerd'. With a background in public relations and technology, she's a great fit with her desire to innovate the industry! You can find her most days writing for PR Forward, PRSA, and other trade publications.Follow on Twitter More Content by Lacey Miller